Avoid These Phrases on Your Resume

Your resume is your first step toward finding a new job. The good news is that a strong one can help you stand out to a hiring manager, so you get called for an interview. The bad news is that you only have a few seconds to make it happen before they move onto reviewing the next one. What can you do to get noticed? Start by avoiding these phrases:

A team player.

This is an empty cliché that doesn’t mean much to a hiring manager. They expect every candidate to be able to work well with others, so stating this also wastes space. Rather than talking about being a team player, get more specific and dig into the times you “collaborated,” “mentored,” or “led” a successful team.

Think outside the box.

This is one of the most overused phrases on a resume and won’t do anything to help you set yourself apart from other job candidates. Instead, offer examples of times you were strategic or creative in your thinking and the results you were able to achieve.


This might get you laughed out of the running. Avoid this kind of hyberbole altogether and focus on using honest, clear-cut language. Also, back up your claims about your abilities with facts, figures and examples of accomplishments.


This another over-the-top term that too many candidates use. But the reality is that despite its popularity, it won’t do much to sway the hiring manager to call you for an interview. Rather than using it, be more specific and discuss how you worked as part of a team successfully and what you were able to create as a result of the collaboration.

Thought leadership.

This is another one of those trendy terms that originally sounds good, but actually doesn’t mean a whole lot when you get down to it. Instead of using this phrase, consider something more targeted like “strategized,” “executed,” “created,” or “developed.”


Hiring managers want any candidate they hire to be a results-driven one. However, just saying you are isn’t going to convince them it’s true. Instead, explain the results you were able to produce, quantifying them wherever you can.


Rather than using a term like this, talk about your work ethic, in-demand skills or other abilities you can prove. For instance, highlight a time when you went above and beyond for a client and the results you produced due to your expertise and effort.

These are just a few examples, but there are many others, such as “self-motivated,” “detail-oriented” and “value-add.” Instead of including these generic and cliched statements, be more precise in what you say and include examples wherever you can.

Do you need additional tips or help finding a new job?

Turn to Future Force, one of Orlando’s leading office staffing agencies. We work with top employers and can connect you with a range of rewarding opportunities, whether on a temporary or full-time basis. Search our jobs now or call us to learn more.


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